By Marti Gacioch
Accuquest audiologist Charity Herrera, M.A. finds that many patients live in denial of their hearing losses.
“Most people coming here think that they’re just getting a general check-up and that their ears are full of wax and that’s why they can’t hear,” Charity Herrera, M.A. said. “Other people come in to prove to the person urging them to get a check-up that they don’t have a problem.”
Before Herrera tests and evaluates a patient’s hearing, she spends the first hour of her two-hour session shattering the myths of hearing loss and the use of hearing aids (or the lack thereof) and educating the patient about ramifications of untreated hearing loss.
“Some of those ramifications are as serious as dementia and brain atrophy,” Herrera said. “I give them a clear idea of what’s happening year after year when you go without treating the loss.”
An audiologist for 12 years, Herrera received her degree from California State University Los Angeles. She has practiced in San Diego for seven years and began working for Accuquest last June.
“There are many people in the business of selling hearing aids, and the difference between those people and Accuquest, specifically myself, is that I’m really in this business to help people hear better and to help them maintain healthy connections with the people they love,” Herrera said. “When you have a hearing loss, it disables those connections, so I try to mend them.”
Herrera said that many patients think that they’re seeing her to purchase a product — like going to a store for a loaf of bread, and other people think they can buy any hearing aid, pop it in their ear, and the problem is solved.
“Hearing better is a rehabilitative process that takes time, follow-up and counseling,” Herrera said. “This is not like buying eyeglasses where your vision is immediately corrected because hearing aids are prescriptively fit for different losses and different needs.”
Herrera said that patient satisfaction is her No. 1 priority. “I think that satisfaction comes from educating the patient more than they’ve ever been educated before about their loss and what that means for their connections with their friends and their families,” Herrera said.
* Accuquest is at 3252 Holiday Court La Jolla Ste. 208, La Jolla. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and by appointment on Saturdays. (858) 638-7808. On the Web at